Extending Support and Work Experience
The SHA Volunteer club is a group for volunteers who may be former SHA service users. The purpose of this club is to extend the support given to these young people post 18 and to help prepare them for their role as an SHA volunteer and by extension, adulthood and the workforce. This club provides them with support, training, knowledge and work experience that is invaluable to their growth after they turn 18.
A little bit of background….
The need for this volunteer programme became apparent when one of our first ever members reached the age of 18. Funding for young people to access our snooker sessions tends to stop once an individual reaches the age of 18. This means that for many of our members, reaching this milestone means that they would no longer be able to attend the club.
Over the years we have found that most of the young people that attend our club do not want to leave when they reach 18. As many of you know, the transition into adult-life can be a daunting experience, but can be even more so if that involves taking away the things you enjoy! Because of this, every member that attends our sessions has the opportunity to enrol onto our volunteer programme.
What is our volunteer programme?
Our Volunteer Programme gives members the opportunity to continue attending sessions, and encourages them to take more of an upfront role in coaching others and passing their learnt skills onto the other children and young people that attend our service.
The programme also enables members to continue playing the sport they love, socialising with their friends and become more confident in delivering snooker coaching. Additionally, our volunteers can also gain valuable work experience from this, being closer with the staff members and working as part of the team.
This programme has worked exceptionally well over the years and has produced many great volunteers who do an amazing job at passing on their knowledge and skills to the service users, and many of our volunteers have progressed onto the staff team and have been offered a paid position.
Through the volunteer club our service users upon turning 18 have been able to have their support extended and are still able to play snooker and see their friends as well as having access to the SHA Volunteer training course in which SHA Staff run training sessions to help prepare them for their role as a volunteer in a childcare setting.
This Volunteer Club and Volunteer Training Course has done immeasurable good for these young people in providing them with necessary support and building their skill base and work experience.
"I first came to the Stephen Harrison Academy when I was 10 years old and learnt how to play snooker and make new friends. I loved coming so much that when I turned 18 I didnt want to leave - so I became a volunteer. As a volunteer I helped to teach the children what I had learnt at the academy over the years. I also got a lot of help from the staff when I turned 18 to go out and find a job and thanks to their help and my experience being a volunteer I was able to gain to confidence to get a job!"
"I'm really thankful for the support I have got from SHA over the years. When I was very young I came to the academy and learnt a new sport and made lots of friends. I really struggled a lot as I was growing up with mental health issues and Steve and the staff were always there to help me through it all - especially during lockdown. I was a volunteer and at the volunteer club the staff taught me how to be a good volunteer, how to help the kids to learn snooker and how to help them if they had any issues they wanted to talk about. I also did the volunteer training course and am now a staff member. Everything that I learnt at the volunteer club has really helped to prepare me for my new role as a staff member and feel very good about it."
"Being a volunteer has helped me to deal with my disability in every way possible and it gives me a chance to help others like me."